Poll: Less Than 20% of Texans Want Jail Time for Marijuana Possession

Poll: Less Than 20% of Texans Want Jail Time for Marijuana Possession

AUSTIN, TX — Nearly three out of four Texans support reforming the Lone Star State’s current marijuana laws, according to a statewide poll released Wednesday.

According to an independent statewide poll conducted earlier this month by the Texas Lyceum, a non-partisan, nonprofit statewide leadership group, just under 75% of those surveyed believe that marijuana should either be legalized or decriminalized.

The poll found that among Texas adults, only 19.5% are opposed to both the legalization and/or the decriminalization of…

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Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin in Oregon

Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin in Oregon

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Given Head Start Before Other Stores; Oregon Becomes First State to Expunge Prior Nonviolent Marijuana Records

Oregon, which legalized marijuana in 2014 with Measure 91, is beginning sales Thursday, October 1st. Existing medical marijuana dispensaries were permitted to get a head start on sales before other, non-medical stores, which are expected to open in Fall 2016.

This will ensure existing medical marijuana retailers have an opportunity to fairly compete in the new market as it emerges in the next several…

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The Big California Marijuana Legalization Initiative is About to Roll Out

LOS ANGELES, CA — The long-awaited pot legalization initiative from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, also known as ReformCA, is about to be filed with state officials. Backers of the initiative told the LA Weekly Tuesday that language for circulation will be filed with the attorney general’s office in a matter of “days.”

There are a handful of legalization initiatives already filed and some already approved for signature gathering, but there is little sign that any of them have the financial and organizational resources to actually make the ballot. It takes some 365,000 valid voter signatures to qualify, a number that virtually demands paid signature gatherers at a cost that could approach a million dollars.

The ReformCA campaign, on the other hand, has the backing of…

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Multicenter study examines safety of medical cannabis in treatment of chronic pain

A Canadian research team has completed a national multicenter study looking at the safety of medical cannabis use among patients suffering from chronic pain. They found that patients with chronic pain who used cannabis daily for one year, when carefully monitored, did not have an increase in serious adverse events compared to pain patients who did not use cannabis.

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Study: Patients Report Substituting Cannabis for Booze, Prescription Drugs

Study: Patients Report Substituting Cannabis for Booze, Prescription Drugs

Patients who possess legal access to cannabis frequently substitute it in place of alcohol and prescription drugs, according to survey data published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review.

Investigators from the University of Victoria in British Columbia assessed the influence of medical marijuana access on other drug-taking behaviors in a cohort of 473 Canadian adults licensed to engage in cannabis therapy.

“Substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs was reported by 87 percent of…

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In 2014, Someone was Arrested for Marijuana Every 45 Seconds

In 2014, Someone was Arrested for Marijuana Every 45 Seconds

In 2014 there were 700,993 arrests for marijuana in the United States. That’s one every 45 seconds. That’s also 7,000 more than the last year, with nearly 90 percent of those arrests for simple possession.

Every 45 seconds a life and a future is put in jeopardy.

Every 45 seconds, something that 38 percent of Americans admit to doing becomes an insurmountable barrier to future success. Barriers that are not placed randomly, but with intent so that they fall on the heads of the same people, in the same places over and over again.

Every 45…

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Mass. High Court Rules Police Can’t Stop Vehicles Based Solely on Suspicion of Marijuana

BOSTON, MA — Civil rights advocates and marijuana legalization supporters are welcoming a decision from the state Supreme Judicial Court that says police can’t stop motorists solely because they suspect the vehicle’s occupants are carrying marijuana. The decision came in Commonwealth v. Rodriguez.

The Rodriguez in question was Elivette Rodriguez, who was a passenger in a car stopped by New Bedford police in 2012 after they allegedly detected the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle. During the stop, police found a bag containing 60 Percocet pills, and Rodriguez was charged with possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute, as well as other offenses.

Before trial, Rodriguez filed a motion to suppress the evidence from the search, arguing that since the state had…

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FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Increased in 2014 for First Time Since 2009

FBI Reports Marijuana Arrests Increased in 2014 for First Time Since 2009

700,993 arrests were made for marijuana offenses in 2014, up from 693,058 in 2013; more than 88% were for simple possession

WASHINGTON, DC — The annual number of arrests for marijuana offenses in the U.S. increased last year for the first time since 2009, according to the Uniform Crime Report released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

An estimated 700,993 arrests were made nationwide for marijuana-related offenses in 2014 — up from 693,058 in 2013 — of which 88.42% were for possession. On average, one person was arrested for…

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FBI: Uptick In Marijuana Arrests In 2014

FBI: Uptick In Marijuana Arrests In 2014

New FBI Statistics: One Marijuana Arrest Every 45 Seconds In 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The total number of marijuana-related arrests nationwide rose in 2014, despite the implementation of legalization laws in two states, according to data released today by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the 2014 Uniform Crime Report, police made 700,993 arrests for marijuana-related offenses, some 7,500 more arrests than were reported in 2013. Of those arrested, 619,808 (over 88 percent) were charged with possession only — a two percent…

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Pittsburgh NORML to Host Fundraiser for John Fetterman for United States Senate

Pittsburgh NORML to Host Fundraiser for John Fetterman for United States Senate

PITTSBURGH, PA — Pittsburgh NORML, a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, will be hosting a fundraiser for John Fetterman for United States Senate on Wednesday.

John Fetterman is the Mayor of Braddock, PA, a former steel town east of Pittsburgh that has struggled since the collapse of the steel industry. He has worked tirelessly to help his community rebound despite the myriad challenges posed by economic decline, poverty and narcotics trafficking.

Fetterman was recently quoted in the Washington Post…

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Oregon: Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales Start Thursday

Oregon: Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales Start Thursday

PORTLAND, OR — Limited retail sales of marijuana to adults 21 or older will begin in Oregon on Thursday, October 1st, making Oregon the third US state to allow for the legal sale of marijuana to adults without a medical marijuana card.

With the early start to legal retail marijuana sales, Oregon will have the quickest start of lawful marijuana sales out of the four states that have approved legalization, doing so less than a year after voters approved Measure 91.

Under the voter-approved Measure 91, possession of marijuana by adults 21 or older became legal in Oregon on July 1.  But the law gave the Oregon Liquor Control Commission until January 1, 2016 to implement regulations on production, processing, and commercial sale of marijuana.

The Oregon legislature took the unusual…

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Study: Early Marijuana Use Not Associated with Adverse Outcomes in Adulthood

Study: Early Marijuana Use Not Associated with Adverse Outcomes in Adulthood

PITTSBURGH, PA — The use of marijuana by adolescents and young adults, including self-reported chronic use, is not positively associated with poorer quality of life outcomes later in life, according to an assessment of longitudinal data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Investigators from the Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Rutgers University prospectively examined whether male subjects who consumed cannabis between the ages of 15 and 26 differed in terms of socioeconomic, social, and life satisfaction outcomes by…

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Studies: Fewer Teens Using Marijuana, Younger Adolescents More Likely to Voice Disapproval

Studies: Fewer Teens Using Marijuana, Younger Adolescents More Likely to Voice Disapproval

Self-reported use of marijuana by high-school students is significantly lower today than it was 15 years ago, according to an analysis of CDC data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore assessed data compiled by US Center for Disease Control’s National Youth Risk Behavior Survey for the years 1999 to 2013. The Survey is a biennial school-based evaluation of more than 100,000 high-schoolers nationwide.

Investigators reported that lifetime use of…

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Study: Daily Marijuana Use for Chronic Pain is Safe, Effective

Study: Daily Marijuana Use for Chronic Pain is Safe, Effective

Chronic pain patients who use herbal cannabis daily for one-year report reduced discomfort and increased quality of life compared to controls, and do not experience an increased risk of serious side effects, according to clinical data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Pain.

Researchers at McGill University in Montreal assessed the long-term health of 216 medicinal cannabis users with chronic non-cancer pain who consumed a daily standardized dose (12.5 percent THC) of herbal cannabis compared to 215 controls (chronic pain…

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California Lawmakers Urge Gov. Brown to Sign Marijuana Bills

California Lawmakers Urge Gov. Brown to Sign Marijuana Bills

OAKLAND, CA – A bipartisan front of California legislators urged Gov. Jerry Brown to sign their bills regulating the medical marijuana industry at a news conference on Thursday.

The bills are Assembly Bill 266, Assembly Bill 243 and Senate Bill 643, known together as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

Should Brown sign them, the bills would provide a licensing structure for the industry, establish security, worker and safety standards and protect patients and their access – all under a hybrid of state and local control.

The…

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Do American adolescents approve of marijuana?

Groundbreaking research suggests that adolescents have become less likely to approve of and use marijuana over the last decade when compared to young adults. This is coming during a time where a majority of Americans support the full legalization of marijuana, according to a 2013 poll. 

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Teen marijuana use down despite greater availability

Marijuana use among American high school students is significantly lower today than it was 15 years ago, despite the legalization in many states of marijuana for medical purposes, a move toward decriminalization of the drug and the approval of its recreational use in a handful of places, new research suggests.

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Researchers document self-reported use of new, uncommon synthetic drugs by teens, young adults

This is the first study reporting on use of a variety of new drugs in a nationally representative U.S. sample. Researchers are confident that use was severely underreported, as the subjects were not asked about most of these new drugs specifically. The researchers advocate for health surveys to ask about use of new drugs, in addition to traditional drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, in order to quickly pick up on potential drug epidemics.

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California: Legislative Package Seeking to Clarify, Regulate Medical Cannabis Sent to Governor

California: Legislative Package Seeking to Clarify, Regulate Medical Cannabis Sent to Governor

California lawmakers approved a series of bills in the final hours of the 2015 legislative session that seek to establish statewide rules and oversight governing the distribution of medicinal cannabis. The three bills — Assembly Bill 266, Senate Bill 643, and Assembly Bill 243 — now await final approval from Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown.

Much of the measures’ finalized language was amended and approved by lawmakers at the close of the session and was not subject to public testimony or significant floor debate.

Specifically, the legislative…

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Hawaii Medical Cannabis Collective Raided

Hawaii Medical Cannabis Collective Raided

HILO, HI — Michael Ruggles, 58, a medical cannabis patient and activist who operates the Alternative Pain Management Pu`uhonua’s Collective out of his home in Fern Acres, Hawaii, was raided and arrested on Thursday September 10, 2015.

Ruggles’ private medical cannabis collective provides a means for members to dispose of excess medical cannabis via transfer to other members who have also been authorized to use medical cannabis. Ruggles ‘ collective allows members to comply with the quantity restrictions set forth in Hawai`i’s…

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California Will Regulate Medical Marijuana

California Will Regulate Medical Marijuana

SACRAMENTO, CA — After nearly 20 years of wrangling over what is and is not legal under California’s 1996 Proposition 215 medical marijuana law, the state legislature has passed a set of bills designed to bring order to the chaos.

If, as expected, Gov. Brown signs the bills into law, the medical marijuana status quo, rife with ambiguities, contradictions, and grey areas, will be transformed into a robust, strictly regulated medical marijuana industry. It won’t always be painless, and there will be winners and losers.

For starters, the…

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California Legislature Agrees to Last-Minute Medical Marijuana Bills

California Legislature Agrees to Last-Minute Medical Marijuana Bills

SACRAMENTO, CA — California’s state assembly reached a bipartisan agreement on a “historic framework” to regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry, lawmakers announced Friday.

The bill, AB 266, will “ensure patient access, as well as protect the environment, public safety, and public health,” according to a press release.

It marks the first time in state history that framework for medical marijuana regulation has been agreed to by the state assembly, the state senate and the governor’s office.

California was the first…

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Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Flat, Use of Alcohol and Cigarettes at Record Lows

Federal Survey: Teen Marijuana Use Flat, Use of Alcohol and Cigarettes at Record Lows

Current use of marijuana by those between the ages of 12 to 17 has remained largely unchanged over the past decade, while young people’s self-reported consumption of alcohol and cigarettes has fallen to record lows, according to federal data compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the percentage of respondents ages 12 to 17 who reported past-month use of marijuana remained steady from 7.6 percent in 2004 to 7.4 percent in 2014. By…

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Study: Patients Replace Prescription Drugs With Cannabis

Study: Patients Replace Prescription Drugs With Cannabis

MESA, AZ — Patients with legal access to medical marijuana reduce their consumption of conventional pharmaceuticals, according to a demographic review of patient characteristics published online in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators affiliated with the Medical Marijuana Research Institute in Mesa surveyed responses from 367 state-qualified patients recruited from four Arizona medical cannabis dispensaries. Respondents were more likely to be male, in their mid-40s, and daily consumers of cannabis.

Respondents most often…

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Illinois Governor Rejects Additional Medical Marijuana Conditions

Illinois Governor Rejects Additional Medical Marijuana Conditions

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill Thursday that would have allowed patients suffering from eleven different conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program.

Other conditions that would have been added to the program included chronic post-surgical pain, osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. The addition of the qualifying conditions had been suggested by the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board earlier this year.

In his veto message, Rauner…

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Most Consumers Choose Retail Marijuana Access Over the Black Market

Most Consumers Choose Retail Marijuana Access Over the Black Market

PAWTUCKET, RI — Retail cannabis providers are far more popular with consumers than are illicit market providers, according to survey data compiled and published by Marijuana Business Daily.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents who resided in states that permit regulated marijuana sales reported no longer purchasing cannabis from the black market.

Pollsters surveyed more than 1,600 medical and recreational users across the country. The results appeared online Tuesday.

The data rebuts concerns that many consumers would continue to solicit the…

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Washington: Marijuana Law Changes Not Associated with Increased Teen Use

Washington: Marijuana Law Changes Not Associated with Increased Teen Use

Changes in marijuana laws are not associated with increased use of the substance by teens, according to data compiled by Washington’ Healthy Youth Survey and published by the Washington State Institute of Public Policy.

State survey results from the years 2002 to 2014 show little change in cannabis consumption by Washington teens despite the passage of laws permitting and expanding the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes during this time.

Self-reported marijuana use fell slightly among 8th graders, 10th graders, and…

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ASA Weighs in on Proposed Changes to Colorado Marijuana Regulations

ASA Weighs in on Proposed Changes to Colorado Marijuana Regulations

Last week Americans for Safe Access (ASA) submitted comments to Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) on proposed regulatory changes to the state’s cannabis program.

Colorado is mulling changes in response to a number of developments, notably issues surrounding the accuracy of cannabis labeling and accidental of overexposure related to edibles. MED deserves praise for investigating emerging issues and promptly moving to address those issues while considering input in a public manner.

Colorado is an important state for medical…

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MD: ASA to Work with Regulators to Ensure Highest Level of Industry Compliance

MD: ASA to Work with Regulators to Ensure Highest Level of Industry Compliance

BALTIMORE, MD — Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has been selected to provide training for compliance inspectors operating under the authority of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The auditors are charged with ensuring members of the state’s new medical cannabis industry comply with all applicable regulations, which were finalized by the Commission in August. 

In addition to developing its own rigorous compliance protocols, Maryland has adopted the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations…

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